Amazon steps on Spotify’s toes with streaming music service (Wired UK)


Kindle and Amazon Music

Amazon


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Amazon introduced a new streaming music service for its Prime
members today. Amazon Music is an ad-free service that features
more than one million tracks from 10,000 albums drawn from the
catalogs of Sony, Warner and many independent labels (Universal
Music Group’s catalog is absent, as it wasn’t part of the deal).
You can listen to music online, or download them to your device for
offline use. It goes live today on Kindle Fire HD and HDX, iOS,
Android, PC and Mac apps, and the web. Amazon says it will be
coming later this year to Sonos, Fire TV, and other platforms.

Streaming music is increasingly a commodity, with the various
services trying to set themselves apart via features. Amazon says
that it’s focusing on a few key areas. There will be no ads –
neither audio nor graphical ads within the app. You won’t have to
pay extra to listen to music offline. Nor will listeners have to
suffer through tracks they don’t want to hear — you’ll be able to
skip songs or replay them to your ear’s content.

There are a few nice features in the service. For example, if
you’ve been buying music from Amazon since it began selling CDs in
1998, you’ll see many of those tracks and albums already populated
in your library. And if there’s music from Universal you’ve
previously purchased — something from Kanye West for example — it
will still show up in your personal Amazon Music library even
though you can’t stream other Universal tracks. If you’ve only
bought a track or two from an album, the service will show you
there are more free ones to be had. There are also playlists
created by Amazon’s own “experts,” and Songza-style music lists
meant to match your mood — for example under “Happy and Upbeat”
you’ll find “Pop to make you feel better.” You can, of course,
create your own playlists as well.

But really, the main feature is Prime itself. Without a
deal that gives access to tracks from Universal, it would be hard
to justify choosing Amazon’s streaming service over Rdio or
Spotify. But given that this is yet another feature that comes with
all the other benefits of Prime, and that the annual cost of a
Prime membership is less than an annual subscription to Rdio,
Spotify, Beats or Google All Access, it does more to help sell
Prime than it does to sell itself as a standalone service. If you
think of it as a music streaming service that also includes free
shipping from Amazon, a robust video library, and a book lending
library, it’s suddenly a very good deal-even without the songs from
Universal artists. It is, very much, a way to help suck you into
the Amazon ecosystem and eventually buy more stuff from Amazon.

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This article originally appeared on Wired.com

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13 June 2014 | 11:05 am – Source: wired.co.uk
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